After more than sufficient time to reflect on yesterdays game, the same feeling of uncertainty remains as to whether this Arsenal team is good enough.
Good enough to achieve what you may be asking? But even that is a question i struggle to know the answer of. What do The Arsenal - as George Graham always referred to them - want to achieve this year.
Do we want to win the Champions League, I highly doubt it since we've sold our best player to the team which is already miles ahead of us. Do we want to win the Premier League? I doubt that too, as although Arsene, Gazidis, the rest of the board, the team, and the fans know that we are in dire need of reinforcements, in defence and creative positions, we have done very little this summer.
In fact, the club has probably raked in 70 million pounds (80 million if we sell Bendtner for the price we want to) while we've only spent 20 million on Jenkinson, Chamberlain and Gervinho. Add the that the freeing up of wages amounting to 200k/week we are more than capable of bringing in 2 or 3 quality additions.
The very most we can expect at the moment is a cup win and Champions League qualification - which I would take right now - but that is the very minimum a club of our size should be expecting/achieving. Frankly though, judging by the last 2 performances, we'll be lucky to achieve that.
The Udinese game was a worry, as many expected the fans to get on the teams back, which certainly wouldn't have helped the team in probably the most important game we've played in a while. Instead we started superbly, with Walcott, Ramsey and Gervinho looking very dangerous and combining well for a goal in the 4th minute.
You may have expected us to press on and dominate the game after that, but the Italians were no pushovers, Di Natale especially, their captain and Serie A top scorer last year was very dangerous, and the pace of their attacks seemed to unsettle our defence. The aforementioned Di Natale hit the bar from a free kick, and Szczesny made a great save from Amero as he ran from his own penalty box like an olympic sprinter.
In the second half, the defence had to reshuffle after an inevitable injury to Gibbs. The lad has had so many injury problems in his short career and this season he's only lasted 135 minutes. Minutes later Djourou - Gibbs' replacement - was taken off with a similar injury and Carl Jenkinson was brought on to make his debut. Although Wenger have have been impressed with his first choice centre back partnership of Vermaelen and Koscielny, the fact that our defence looked so threadbare even at this early stage in the season is a big worry, and the defensive issue must be addressed.
The Italians seemed to dominate the second half and Song, Ramsey and Rosicky were overran in midfield, with the latter being replaced by the industrious Frimpong. Walcott and Gervinho looked like our best players, and nearly combined for a goal but for a brilliant save by Handanovic. Chamakh continued where he left of last season and was rubbish, those excited by the departure of Bendtner should look at the Moroccan who will now be Van Persie's only back up.
In the end we survived for the 1-0, and in fact we can take pride in the fact that we denied them from making too many clear cut opportunities, despite their domination. We didn't play well, but we won and if we score in Udine, they have to score 3 goals to go through.
We lacked a lot of creativity, with a massive space in our final third where Fabregas would be. Nasri too will be missed this season, but I'm glad he leaving. Van Persie would have made a big difference too and will hopefully in the second leg, whilst Wilshere's exuberance and ability to retain possession has been sorely missed in the opening to this season. Gervinho's ban as well as Song's - who accepted his charge of violent misconduct - will mean
Arrivals simply must come, and ideally by the weekend's clash with Liverpool and if not then by the time we play United next week. Gervinho's ban as well as Song's - who accepted his charge of violent misconduct - will mean we will be without the pair for those games, and could be playing a very youthful, inexperienced side in three of the biggest games of our season. If we perform badly in those 3 games, we could be bottom going into September, and out of the Champions League, so there really is a lot to play for even this early on. The performance has not been there in the first two games, but at least we got the result yesterday, and kept a clean sheet. Onwards and Upwards, hopefully.